"My wife in hospital"

About: North Devon District Hospital / Accident and emergency North Devon District Hospital / Cardiology

(as a relative),

Towards the end of last year, my wife was taken into hospital late in the evening she was very ill, the phone rang at 2am on the Monday morning it was the doctor who was treating her at the A&E she asked me all about my wife's illness and then at 6am she rang me again to say that she did not think that she was going to make it and could I come over as soon as possible. I was there by 7am when I saw her she was still living but semi-conscious she was then taken to the medical assessment unit where she remained semi conscious for two days.

Then, she started to get a little better every day the treatment that she had was first class then on the Friday the nurse said that I could feed her with ice cream which I did and she really enjoyed it, in the afternoon she was taken to the Victoria cardiology ward as they said she was getting better and they needed the room she was in.

 I went in to see her each day and on the Monday a doctor came in and asked me what I thought and I said that she was improving a little bit every day and he said yes she is and I think she will be alright now we will keep her on the same treatment.

While she was in the Victoria ward a nurse put a nebulizer on her and left. A while later I took it off her and the nurse came back and asked if someone had been in to take it off, I said that I had and they said oh good, I had gone on my lunch and forgot about her.
Another time on the ward, I asked if my wife could have some ice cream like she had on the medical assessment ward, they said no but then the dietitian said she can have some mousse. The nurse brought it in and said she wouldn't put my wife's teeth in so I did it for her, then when she fed her she got a massive spoonful and put it in her mouth, saying swallow, but it was such a big spoonful even I wouldn't have been able to eat it.

 On the next day Tuesday she was talking to me as she had been for a few days before still improving.
The next day Wednesday, when I went in the room where she was I could not believe I was looking at the same person she did not know me, the oxygen mask had been taken off, she still had a drip in but it was only water, on the notice board it said nill by mouth but keep her mouth moist at all times that's with these foam lollypops. I got there at 11-45 that morning and the packet with the lollypops in was still on the table still unopened, I opened up the pack put some water in the tray and kept her mouth moist, I went out in the ward and saw a nurse I said to him could you come in a minute? I said to him why was my wife like she was? He said ALL SHE'S ALRIGHT and walked out.

I never saw anyone again until 1-30 when a doctor came in with a social services man the doctor said to me I am sorry but we can not do any more for your wife, so I said in that case I would like to have her bought home to die but the social services man said that's impossible I have to go back to my office and arrange for someone to come in the morning and evening to help you and you will have to have a hospital bed taken home as well I said to him cant you see she is dieing he said well I can get her in a hospice I said no way he said I will ring you tomorrow and walked out, that night at about 9pm she passed away.

I would like to know what happened after I left on the Tuesday afternoon until I got there on the Wednesday morning why was there so much of a change and why was she not put into intensive care instead of Victoria ward, the care in that ward was well below the standard that I thought that my wife deserved I think that they just gave up on her, I think the social services man should apologize for refusing my request and my legal rights to have my wife taken home.

I would give Medical Assessment Unit 10 out of 10 Victoria ward 1 out of 10

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Response from Jayne Kruszewski, Customer Relations Manager, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear Relative

Firstly on behalf of the Trust may I take this opportunity to send you my sincere condolences on the sad loss of your wife, and I am very sorry you have felt the need to contact Patient Opinion regarding your experience, and I am very sorry for any upset caused.

To be able to look into the circumstances surrounding your late wifes inpatient stay and treatment I will need more information, and I would ask you to please contact the Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) department on 01271 314090 -in the first instance or you may prefer to email them on ndht.PALS@nhs.net

We look forward to hearing from you.

Many thanks
  • Palmtree thinks this response is helpful
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Update posted by Palmtree (a relative)

I heard back this week and I’m really pleased with the outcome. It was Sister Huish from Victoria ward that my wife had been on who called me, she explained that she was really pleased that I had called because she was unaware that these problems were occurring on her ward.

She spoke to the social worker who explained that the reason that my wife could not come home that night was because it takes at least two days to organise the paper work for this, but I had not been told this, and so it was the lack of communication that caused the issue and they are now more aware of the importance of communicating things more clearly and effectively.

She also explained that she’s had a chat with the member of staff who came across as uncaring and quite rude about the importance of communicating in a compassionate way. Because the nurse looked into everything so thoroughly it meant that she could explain to me why my wife’s health seemed to deteriorate so fast and so I now have a much clearer understanding of what happened, which has helped to put my mind at ease.

I would like to thank Sister Huish for all the time she spent to investigate the things that I was concerned about, and for apologising for the problems caused.